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RIVERTON — After claiming a pair of state titles as a junior at the Kansas State Track and Field Championships, Matti Price had high expectations of repeating heading into her senior campaign on the track.
Unfortunately, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, she won’t get that chance and instead will turn her focus towards a career at the collegiate level.
“I was extremely excited (about this season),” said Price, who is a senior at Riverton High School. “As soon as state ended last year, I couldn’t wait for the next season. Once I heard this season was cancelled, I didn’t have words. I still haven’t really processed it all yet. It feels like we’re on an extended spring break. It doesn’t all seem real just yet. It’s devastating, but I am at peace knowing I will have a college career. I know it’ll be super hard when those days come that I should’ve been at state or the memories of last year will pop on Facebook or something.”
Price has been a three-sport athlete at Riverton, including competing in volleyball and basketball as an underclassmen. Her focus recently has been on the track as she has quickly become a standout for the Rams.
Over the previous two seasons, Price has been a state placer, including a runner-up in the 400-meter dash and a sixth-place finish in the 200 as a sophomore. One year later, she stepped up her game to claim the Class 2A 100- and 400-meter dash championships as a junior. She also finished as the runner-up in the 200.
“I expected myself to do really well in the 400 at state because I had gone back and forth with the state leading time, and I felt pretty good about that event,” Price said. “Never in a million years did I think I would win the 100. I just don’t have that powerful speed out of the blocks like some girls do. I felt super good that morning. I went out and gave it my all, and the end results were everything I could’ve hoped for.”
In addition to those state performances, Price said she also holds three Riverton school records — 12.39 seconds in the 100, 25.44 in the 200, and 56.72 in the 400.
Price credits a lot of her success to her coach and a strong training program in preparation for each season.
“My coach does a peak, which is a typical type of college training … of course, just taken down a few notches,” Price said. “We work long to short. So high volume, low intensity. As weeks progress, the volume drops and intensity increases. It’s a process of peaking your body to run its fastest times at the most important time of the season. Actually towards the end of the season, it doesn’t seem like we’re running a ton … just a few full speed reps. We want our bodies rested well for the big meets.”
There will be no big meets for Price and her Riverton squad in 2020 with the cancellation of the spring sports season.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Price said. “The first day I found out, I was a mess. But then days went on and I had began to feel better … just realizing how everyone is going through this or even worse situations. I had also realized how extremely blessed and thankful I was to have my family healthy and all supporting me in my difficult time.
“I still have my moments of sadness. I still cry every now and then about prom, graduation, senior trip. But dwelling on those things won’t bring them back. I think that I have already grown a lot from this situation, and I’m looking at that as one of the positive things out of all of this.”
Now her focus shifts to her future as she will be continuing her track career in college at NCAA Division II Pittsburg State University. She made her decision known on Jan. 15, which took quite a bit of pressure off her during the rest of the school year.
“I can’t imagine what those senior athletes are going through right now,” Price said. “I was actually planning on waiting it out a little longer, but then I just kind of got to a point where I knew. I knew that Pitt State was where I wanted to be. I’m so grateful to have had made that decision and got it all out of the way. I’m super excited to be on a continuously great women’s team.”
Not only has Price been competitive in sports at Riverton, she has also been active in other organizations. The Riverton High School Senior Class President, Price has been the Student Council President, Vice President of the National Honors Society, and Treasurer of the Science Club. She has also participated in the FEA (Future Educators Association), FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and FFA (Future Farmers of America).
Riverton seniors are currently closing out their school year with online classes, with hopes of a possible graduation ceremony in the near future.
“Right now, we do a zoom class on Mondays for trig,” Price said. “I don’t think I will ever forget about doing a math class through a screen, especially with the most old-school teachers. But also, I just can’t imagine how great it’s going to be to reunite with my classmates and best friends. I think about the first time we’re all going to be able to see each other, and I think that will be one of the best memories I will ever have.”
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT MATTI PRICE …
SEK-SPORTS: What are some of your interests and hobbies away from school?
PRICE: “I love bullet journaling. It’s a super fun and easy thing to do. I also love working out and doing anything active.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: Who is your favorite athlete? Favorite sports team? Favorite music group/singer?
PRICE: “My favorite athlete has to be Sydney McLaughlin. I actually don’t watch many sports on TV anymore, but the only team I do watch would be the Patriots. I love Chance The Rapper and Khalid.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: Who are the people that you look up to as far as role models?
PRICE: “Of course, my first role model would be our amazing God. But I also look up to my oldest sister a lot. She traveled across the world to pursue her dream of being a Disney princess. She’s a very driven person and has such a big heart.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: What is a fun fact about you that people may or may not know?
PRICE: “So I actually hate track … just kidding. But fun fact, I have really long toes. I tell my coach that’s how I’m so fast.”